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More Time to Hunt Pheasants in South Dakota?

March 19, 2008 by

PIERRE, S.D.—South Dakota’s pheasant hunting season might get longer under a proposal being considered by the Game, Fish and Parks Commission. The proposal lengthens the season through January. In the past, the season has ended on the first Sunday in January. “We have a lot of birds on the landscape, thus bringing many requests and questions as to why our department doesn’t adjust the pheasant season to provide more hunting opportunities. Those comments and suggestions led to many discussions amongst field staff, ultimately bringing the recommendation to lengthen the season,” said GFP Game Program Administrator Tom Kirschenmann. “There are more social issues related to the proposal than biological, as our pheasant winter sex ratio counts indicate a sufficient number of roosters available after the hunting season for spring breeding.” According to GFP Senior Upland Game Biologist Chad Switzer, any uneasiness about flushing birds during harsh winter conditions and the undo stress applied to the birds is not a great concern as most hunting pressure occurs during favorable weather conditions, and in most cases, little hunting pressure will occur during extreme winter conditions. “Landowners monitor weather conditions more closely than anyone, and if they feel hunting pressure will cause undo harm to wildlife, access will be limited,” Switzer said. “Similar to private land, public lands support adequate cover for birds to find refuge, whether flushed by hunters or predators.” As proposed, the 2008 season would start on Oct. 18 and go through Jan. 31, 2009. Kirschenmann said the proposed longer season was part of a trend that offers more opportunities for young hunters. He said the additional days would still allow ample time for birds to settle down before the resident only hunt the next weekend. The game bird hunting seasons are scheduled to be the topic of a public hearing at the commission’s April meeting in Brookings. Citizens who would like to provide written comments on the changes in the pheasant seasons may do so up until 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 2. Those comments may be mailed to Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501 or e-mailed to All comments must include the sender’s full name and address in order to become part of the official record. Comments may also be presented in person at the GFP Commission meeting at the public hearing which will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 3, at the Days Inn in Brookings.